Volume 12 Issue 1 - Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Online Portal for COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Goes Live, Marijuana Legalization “Clean-up” Legislation Introduced, Murphy to Deliver State of the State Address Online, Johnson to Join Biden Administration and NJ Continues to Lead the Nation in Outmigration

Online Portal for COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Goes Live: New Jersey has launched a new website that allows residents to sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The site allows people to pre-register even if they are not currently eligible. Currently, the state is only vaccinating healthcare workers and nursing home residents and staff, classified as 1A.

New Jersey has been awarded over 400,000 vaccine doses by the federal government, but only 265,000 doses have been delivered. The remainder is expected at the end of this week, according to the NJ Department of Health.

The state began inoculating front line staff at hospitals on Dec. 15, and this week started vaccinations among staff and residents at long-term care facilities, whose residents have accounted for about 40% of New Jersey's 19,000 COVID deaths.

Click here to visit the state’s online portal to register for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Marijuana Legalization “Clean-up” Legislation Introduced: New Jersey Legislators have introduced a new “clean-up” bill that addresses technical issues related to the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use.

The bill, A5211 (20R), makes largely technical changes to the two measures already sitting on Governor Murphy’s desk that would create a regulatory framework for legal marijuana and remove criminal penalties. The biggest change is how those under the age of 21 who are caught with cannabis are treated.

Under the clean-up legislation individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 would be fined $250 for possessing up to an ounce of cannabis and $500 for more than one ounce. Those under the age of 18 would not face fines and wouldn’t be subject to a disorderly persons charge, but would be “subject to the juvenile delinquency dispositions, leaving it up to the courts to weigh the offense.

If legislators and the administration finalize work on the bill this week, the Senate and Assembly could hold votes as soon as Jan. 11.

Murphy to Deliver State of the State Address Online: Governor Phil Murphy’s 2021 State of the State address will stream online and via social media next Tuesday. 

The 2021 State of the State will be pre-recorded and streamed on the Governor’s official FacebookTwitter, and YouTube pages, as well as via LiveU Matrix at 1:00 PM on January 12, 2021.

Johnson to Join Biden Administration: State Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson will head to Washington this month to join President-elect Joe Biden’s White House COVID-19 Response Team, Governor Murphy announced.

Deputy Commissioner Sarah Adelman, who manages more than $17 billion in programs under department divisions on developmental disabilities, aging services and medical assistance and health services, will take Johnson’s post in an acting capacity on Jan. 16, the same day the departing commissioner is expected to join Biden’s administration.

Johnson will become chair of the National Pandemic Testing Board, tasked with ensuring new cases of COVID-19 are identified as the country moves through its second month of vaccinations.

NJ Continues to Lead the Nation in Outmigration: According to United Van Lines’ 43rd annual National Migration Study, New Jersey had the highest percentage of outbound migration (70%) of any state in the country. It was followed by New York (67%), Illinois (67), Connecticut (63%) and California (59%). This is the third straight year that New Jersey has led the nation in outmigration.

Of all the moves United Van Lines did involving New Jersey, 70% were for people moving out and only 30% were for people moving in.

According to the study, the top inbound states were Idaho (70%), South Carolina (64%), Oregon (63%), South Dakota (62%) and Arizona (62%).